Male Anti-Masturbation Patents from 1859-1915


It should come as no surprise that an archival search of the U.S. Patent Office yields an embarrassment of riches regarding various contraptions for guarding against “self-abuse” (masturbation) and “nocturnal seminal emissions” (wet dreams) in human males.

[B]etween the years 1856 and 1918, a total of 36 [American] applications for such strange devices received patents.

The problem with a nation that has historically been both fascinated by invention and tortured by prudery.

Coiled springs, compressed rings, pubic hair tethers, refrigerated envelopes, electrical shocks, clamps and metal pockets.

“It is a deplorable but well-known fact that one of the most common causes of insanity, imbecility, and feeble-mindedness, especially in youth, is due to masturbation or self-abuse.”

– Ellen Perkins, 1908

Via Scientific American for the grisly details for these “innovations”.

This entry was posted in Gadgets, History, Messed Up by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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